6 bad practices you want to avoid when using paracord

This story was originally published on OFFGRID. Words by Patrick McCarthy.

Paracord is an amazing material, especially if you know how to use it. It can form ultra-strong bracelets, necklaces, key chains, zipper pulls, handle wraps and all sorts of other items — and all of these can be unraveled and repurposed as cordage in a survival situation.

Learning to use paracord as more than a simple rope can also be fun, and it provides a worthwhile pastime during periods of boredom. Best of all, being able to make your own paracord goods can save you money, since you won’t have to buy those goods elsewhere.

Left: a hasty overhand knot. Right: a much neater lanyard knot. Photo: Paracord Guild/OFFGRID

However, as with any new skill, there are some paracord problems and bad practices to be aware of. These mistakes can cause beginners constant frustration and result in sloppy looking finished products. In some cases, they can even pose a safety hazard.

The ball-and-loop method can cinch down and pose a strangulation hazard when used in necklaces. Photo: Paracord Guild/OFFGRID

Paracord Guild is one of the leading sources of paracord-related information and tutorials, and they have provided a list of six common paracord problems faced by beginners. Here’s a high-level summary of the six issues they noticed:

1. Using an improper or sloppy knot to finish a lanyard
2. Burning or singeing the cord accidentally
3. Underestimating the amount of paracord needed
4. Securing necklaces with a ball-and-loop closure
5. Melting cord ends together
6. Buying paracord in small quantities instead of in bulk

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